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Nabokov bails out Sharks
Thornton scores in OT for 2-1 win
2/8/08 - by Mike Lee

Evgeni Nabokov earned his keep on Friday night. Playing without much offensive or defensive support in front of him, the Sharks goaltender turned aside 31 shots to earn his 30th win of the season over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Joe Thornton a power play goal in overtime to help the Sharks salvage a 2-1 win. Nabokov stood on his head from the get-go, turning aside scoring chance after scoring chance.

The Blue Jackets deserved a better fate, after taking it to their hosts. Playing on back-to-back nights, Columbus looked like the rested team, rather than the team that flew in to town less than 24 hours earlier.

Marcel Goc made the most of his ice time, scoring his 3rd goal of the season just 2:34 into the game. Goc grabbed a loose puck in the slot, then spun around and whipped a shot past Fredrik Norrena. The Sharks forward was playing in only his 30th game of the season, having been benched for most of the last 4 weeks.

The Sharks would only put 2 more shots on goal in the period, making it difficult to extend their lead. That wouldn't have mattered had they also played steady defense, but they allowed several odd-man breaks.

Jason Chimera and Craig Rivet would lock horns late in the period after Rivet took exception to a late hit by the Blue Jackets forward. Rivet landed 3 lefts to Chimera's chin, before knocking the Blue Jacket to the ice.

An absence of offense and shoddy defense would plague the Sharks in the middle period, but Nabokov would come up big to preserve the lead.

Chimera had a breakaway attempt thwarted by Nabokov, who stoned the scoring chance with a spectacular stacked pad save. Chimera skated across the slot from right to left, trying to get Nabokov to commit, but the Sharks goaltender would hold his ground, finally denying the delayed shot.

Milan Michalek would be whistled for closing his hand on the puck in the crease, which resulted in a Columbus penalty shot. Rick Nash was given the honors, but Nabokov turned the free shot aside with a poke-check after Nash tried to draw the puck back to his backhand.

San Jose would finish the period with 2 shots on goal, even though they had 2 power play chances.

Columbus on the other hand threw 26 shots on net through two periods, and all that offense would finally cost the Sharks early in the 3rd period.

Chimera would finally get one past Nabokov after yet another Sharks defensive lapse at the 7:13 mark of the 3rd period. Skating 4-on-4, Michael Peca fed the puck out in front of the net from the right corner. Chimera beat Matt Carle to the front of the net, chipping the pass just past Nabokov's right skate.

The Sharks offense finally came to life in the final 10 minutes, putting 15 shots on goal, but they couldn't muster a goal.

Michalek mishandled a setup pass from Patrick Marleau early in the overtime, missing on a golden opportunity to end things. Ron Hainsey crashed into Norrena on the play, then tapped his on net off the mooring to stop play.

Dan Fritsche hauled down Patrick Rissmiller in front of the Blue Jackets net to give the Sharks the power play that would end things. Thornton gathered in a pass from Sandis Ozolinsh in his usual spot near the right dot, then tried to throw the puck in Marleau's direction in front of the crease to generate a redirect, but the puck slipped under Norrena's right arm to give the Sharks the win.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Kyle McLaren returned to the lineup after missing the last 10 games with a knee injury.



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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
CBJ 0 0 1 0 1
SJ 1 0 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Goc 3 (Roenick, Shelley), 2:34.
2nd period - Penalty Shot, CBJ, Nash (unsuccessful), 13:03.
3rd period - 2, CBJ, Chimera 11 (Peca, Klesla), 7:13.
Overtime - 3, Thornton 16 (Ozolinsh), 1:49, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Nabokov, SJ (slashing), 6:26; Chimera, CBJ (fighting major), 16:38; Rivet, SJ (fighting major), 16:38.
2nd period - Boll, CBJ (high sticking), 9:42; Malhotra, CBJ (roughing), 13:21; Mcaren, SJ (roughing), 13:21; Rivet, SJ (tripping), 13:58; Peca, CBJ (tripping), 16:14.
3rd period - Zherdev, CBJ (diving), 5:59; Goc, SJ (slashing), 5:59; Boll, CBJ (roughing), 9:03; McLaren, SJ (roughing), 9:03; Hejda, CBJ (interference), 16:16.
Overtime - Fritsche, CBJ (hooking), 1:35.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
CBJ - Norrena 22 20
SJ - Nabokov 32 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
CBJ 10 16 5 2 32
SJ 3 2 15 1 22
Power Play Conversion
CBJ 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Nabokov
Jason Chimera
Craig Rivet
Attendence
17,210
Officials
Referees: Kowal, Shick. Linesmen: Mach, Racicot.

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